You’re finally ready to go on your once-in-a-lifetime trip — or are you? In the excitement of leaving for a big vacation, it’s easy to forget a few key things. And if you’re not careful, those same things could prove to be big problems once you reach your destination. Below, we’ll lay out the things that you need to remember to do before you head out the door to start your big trip.
Call your bank and credit card company
Identity theft is a very real and frighteningly common problem these days. Fortunately, the banks and credit card companies that we trust tend to be pretty proactive about spotting potential fraud and stopping it. But unfortunately, your legitimate purchases and charges can get caught in this safety net.
If your bank or credit card company starts seeing transactions happening in some far-flung place, they’re likely to put a hold on your card or otherwise mess with your ability to use your own money. Financial institutions will quite reasonably assume that you wouldn’t be spending money in Tahiti — unless, of course, you call them ahead of time to tell them that you’ll be there next week.
Fix your phone and check your plan
These days, most Americans carry smartphones everywhere they go — including on vacation. And because payphones and paper maps have become so uncommon, your smartphone is pretty much essential to getting around and staying safe while you’re in an unfamiliar place.
So now is the time to look up “iPhone repair near me” — it’s a whole lot easier to head to a local shop than to try to get a last-minute fix in a far-flung state or foreign country. While you’re at it, get a nice screen protector and a case, so that dropping your phone doesn’t ruin your vacation.
It’s also important to make sure that your phone will work properly in your vacation destination (and that it won’t cost you a mint to use it), so call your wireless provider to check in with them. You may need to tweak your plan temporarily to get the coverage you need at the rates that you want, especially if you’re traveling abroad.
Get the insurance that you need
Is your trip protected? Are you protected?
If things go wrong on your trip, you don’t want to find that you have the wrong answers to these questions. So consider getting travel insurance to cover things like your vacation itself (you may be able to get refunds if you get sick, for instance) and — even more importantly — your own health care. Your travels may take you out of your health care insurance network or even out of the country entirely, and you don’t want to find that a sudden accident or illness abroad forces you to foot the bill for hospital stays or emergency care. That stuff can be really expensive, so make sure you grab some travel health insurance to protect yourself and your finances.
Look for last-minute deals
You’ve got some plans for your trip, but you (hopefully) haven’t booked something to fill every last moment. There’s still time to find something cool and new to add to your itinerary, and as your vacation approaches, it’s the perfect time to look for last-minute deals on cool attractions.
It’s always wise to book ahead of time for popular attractions and events, of course, point out experts who host a popular luau in Maui, Hawaii. But there are also sometimes chances to do really cool things on the cheap if you wait. Your best bet: Book early for popular stuff and things you can’t stand to miss, then shore up your schedule with some great last-minute finds